|Born||in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA|
|Died||in Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA (heart attack)|
|Birth Name||Philip Silver|
|Nickname||The King of Chutzpah|
|Height||6' 1" (1.85 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Phil Silvers was a comedic actor of Russian-Jewish descent, nicknamed as "The King of Chutzpah". He was best known for his starring role as Master Sergeant Ernest "Ernie" Bilko in the hit sitcom "The Phil Silvers Show" (1955-1959). He had roles in the comedy films "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963), and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1967), playing respectively the characters Otto Meyer and Marcus Lycus. Silvers was a compulsive gambler, and suffered from chronic depression.
In 1911, Silvers was born in Brooklyn, New York City. He was the 8th and youngest child born to Russian-Jewish immigrants Saul Silver (alias Saul Silversmith) and Sarah Handler. Saul was a sheet metal worker who was employed in the building industry. He had helped build a number of New York City's skyscrapers.
Silver started his career as an entertainer in 1922, at the age of 11. A frequent accident at New York City's movie theaters was for their film projector to break down. Someone had to keep the audience entertained during repairs, so Silver was hired to sing to them. Part of his reward was to attend the movie theater free of charge.
By 1924, Silvers performed as a professional singer in the Gus Edwards Revue. His employer was theater company owner Gus Edwards (1878-1945). He then took to working in vaudeville and as a burlesque comic.
In the 1930s, Silvers started appearing in Vitaphone short films. In 1939, Silvers made his Broadway debut in "Yokel Boy". The show was considered mediocre by critics, but Silvers gained acclaim in the press. He made his feature film debut in "Hit Parade of 1941". Silvers worked primarily as a character actor over the following decades, appearing in films produced by 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. When the studio system declined, Silvers initially returned to the theater.
He had a hit as a songwriter when he composed the lyrics of "Nancy (with the Laughing Face)" (1942) for singer Frank Sinatra (1915-1998), The song was apparently named after Frank's young daughter Nancy Sinatra (1940-).
Silvers did not become a household name until his starring role in the sitcom "The Phil Silvers Show" (1955-1959). It was a military comedy, starring Master Sergeant Ernest "Ernie" Bilko. Bilko was depicted as con-artist and gambler who could fast-talk people into complying with his schemes. The show lasted for 4 seasons, and 144 episodes. It found further success in syndication, and often ranks high in lists of popular sitcoms. ' Silvers returned to television stardom with "The New Phil Silvers Show" (1963-1964), where he played factory foreman Harry Grafton. Like Bilko, Grafton was depicted as a con-artist who owned his own company and run schemes on the side. Not as successful as its predecessor, the series lasted for a single season and 30 episodes.
Silvers enjoyed film stardom in the 1960s, though mostly playing supporting roles. He appeared mostly in American productions, but guest-starred in the British comedy film "Follow That Camel". It was thew 14th film in the long-running "Carry On" film series (1958-1992). The film was a parody depicting life in the Foreign Legion, and Silvers played the Bilko-like character of Sergeant Ernie Nocker. He earned a salary of 30,000 pounds, making him the highest-paid actor of the "Carru On" film series up to that point.
Silvers appeared frequently as a guest-star in then-popular sitcoms, such as "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Gilligan's Island". In 1972, Silvers survived a stroke, but was left with a permanently slurred speech. This effectively ended his theatrical career, but did not prevent him from appearing in further film and television roles.
Silvers made his last television appearance in an 1983 episode of the crime drama "CHiPs". He then went into retirement. He died in his sleep in 1985, while in Century City, California. His family attributed the death to unspecified natural causes. He was interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Silvers is still well-remembered as a comic actor. In 1996, TV Guide ranked him number 31 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list. The Hanna-Barbera characters Hokey Wolf and Top Cat were loosely based on his screen persona.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dimos I
|Evelyn Patrick||(21 October 1956 - 28 June 1966) ( divorced) ( 5 children)|
|Jo-Carroll Dennison||(2 March 1945 - 8 March 1950) ( divorced)|
Trade Mark (3)
Personal Quotes (5)
|You're in the Army Now (1941)||$3 .734|
|All Through the Night (1942)||$250 @week|
|Follow That Camel (1967)||£40,000|